Chief Executive Wilhelm Schmid sees bright days ahead for A. Lange & Söhne. Demand already exceeds production, with numerous markets and the women’s watch segment still largely unexplored. All of which gives Glashütte’s own plenty to celebrate in this 20th anniversary year. Schmid took time out from Watches&Wonders to say more.
Autumn got off to a busy start for A. Lange & Söhne. Fresh from the opening of two own-name boutiques, one in Moscow followed just days later by another in New York, its twelfth and thirteenth respectively, the Saxon brand was Asia-bound as one of the exhibitors at Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong, the fine Favorite Swiss Rolex Replica Watches fair that ran 30th September to 2nd October. A hectic schedule in sharp contrast with the stately pace of a brand known for its steadfast pursuit of higher mechanical realms and an almost obsessive devotion to finishing, brought together by irreproachable German classicism.
“It’s that final stretch, those last few percent extra which are the hardest to attain, and this is precisely what we have come here to Hong Kong to show,” commented Wilhelm Schmid, who was appointed Chief Executive in 2011. “I’m well aware that a lot of people are unfamiliar with A. Lange & Söhne, including admirers of mechanical watchmaking. Not that I take offence. It’s to be expected. Our role at the Manufacture is to ensure that anyone who shows an interest, anyone who does their research will be sure to find us.”
How many people indeed remember that A. Lange & Söhne was already an internationally renowned brand back in the 1930s. Nationalised by the East German government following the Second World War, it rose from its ashes in the 1990s, and this year celebrates the twentieth anniversary of what was effectively a rebirth. Commemorating the event, the watchmaker came to Watches&Wonders, after Dresden, to present a set of two Lange 1 20th Anniversary watches, the exact same model which in 1994 marked A. Lange & Söhne’s return centre-stage. This inaugural collection left its mark on the horological community at the time of its launch, with its unconventional off-centre dial and oversized date. Both features have since become hallmarks of the brand.
“Of course we had to give this Replica Omega Watches a leading role in marking this anniversary year,” continued Wilhelm Schmid. “It is exactly the same watch today as for the past twenty years. What greater proof that A. Lange & Söhne manufactures truly enduring, ageless watches. Fashion isn’t something we deal in at Glashütte.” Further confirmation came in the form of the two other timepieces which the brand chose to showcase in Hong Kong, namely a RICHARD LANGE Tourbillon Pour le Mérite in white gold with fusee-and-chain transmission, stop-seconds mechanism and a pivoting dial segment inside the hour circle, and a Langematik Perpetual, the Manufacture’s first automatic wristwatch with Perpetual Calendar and oversized date, proposed in white gold with a black dial. Says Wilhelm Schmid: “These are icons in our collections and it is thanks to them that A. Lange & Söhne is now positioned exactly where it was more than fifty years ago. A progression of which we are particularly proud.”
A new favourite among collectors
A. Lange & Söhne has only itself to thank for this newly conquered success. For collectors, such an approach to watchmaking is impossible to resist. These are the self-same collectors who bid for 2015 Cheap Replica Watches UK at auction, where in spite of its relatively short (re-)existence the Saxon brand is beginning to claim top billing. As always, limited editions, one-offs and models finished to an exceptionally high standard garner the most success among bidders. A white gold Tourbillon Pour le Mérite manufactured in 1997 is a fine illustration. It sold earlier this year at Christie’s for over CHF 400,000 or 432% its original retail value. Similarly, a Lange 1, also manufactured in 1997, last year flew off the block for 753% its original price.
Despite this, the Saxon firm is unlikely to let this surge in popularity go to its head. “We see it as a simple equation. For a rigorously identical standard of quality, the more we produce complicated watches, which are highly time-consuming in terms of production and assembly, the less we are able to make entry-level timepieces. What I mean by this is that there are only so many hours in a day, and that quantities are a totally secondary consideration for A. Lange & Söhne.” As a consequence, the Manufacture is unable to meet demand by a long chalk. “The number of people who are interested in fine watchmaking is growing faster than our production capacity,” Schmid concludes. “Furthermore, our watches are currently sold in just 63 countries, which leaves a lot of virgin territory. Plus the fact we are virtually absent from the women’s watch segment, which accounts for barely 5% of our sales. In a word, we’re in a very comfortable situation. The future is ours!”